Dispute resolution—Japan—Q&A guide

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dispute resolution—Japan—Q&A guide
  • 1. What is the structure of the civil court system?
  • 2. What is the role of the judge and the jury in civil proceedings?
  • 3. What are the time limits for bringing civil claims?
  • 4. Are there any pre-action considerations the parties should take into account?
  • 5. How are civil proceedings commenced? How and when are the parties to the proceedings notified of their commencement? Do the courts have the capacity to handle their caseload?
  • 6. What is the typical procedure and timetable for a civil claim?
  • 7. Can the parties control the procedure and the timetable?
  • 8. Is there a duty to preserve documents and other evidence pending trial? Must parties share relevant documents (including those unhelpful to their case)?
  • 9. Are any documents privileged? Would advice from an in-house lawyer (whether local or foreign) also be privileged?
  • More...

Dispute resolution—Japan—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to dispute resolution in Japan published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: June 2021).

Authors: Anderson Mōri & Tomotsune—Akira Tanaka; Kazuroo Shiraishi

1. What is the structure of the civil court system?

In Japan, all judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court and the lower courts, such as the high courts, district courts, family courts and summary courts. The courts are the final adjudicators of all legal disputes. There are about 3,800 judges in Japan. Summary courts have jurisdiction over proceedings where the contested amount is not more than ¥1.4 million. The district courts will hear appeals from the summary courts and as the court of first instance for all matters with a value above ¥1.4 million and those dealing with real estate. The family courts have jurisdiction to hear non-monetary family law claims. Appeals from the district and family courts are heard by the high courts. In addition to the existing eight high courts, the Intellectual Property High Court was established as of 1 April 2005. Finally, the Supreme Court hears appeals on certain matters from the high courts. There is no specialist commercial or financial court other than the Intellectual Property High Court. Although the Tokyo District Court and the Osaka District Court have divisions

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